4k Movie, Streaming, Blu-Ray Disc, and Home Theater Product Reviews & News | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Release Date: May 28th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1984

Stop Making Sense: Collector's Edition - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (A24 Exclusive)

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: Matthew Hartman
Before he made Hannibal Lecter an Oscar-winning pop culture icon, Jonathan Demme directed one of the greatest rock concerts of all time, Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. For one of the coolest bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s, it’s the ultimate collection of their greatest hits with show-stopping visuals, lamps, and giant blazers. A24 did a masterful job restoring the film and now we can jam out on 4K UHD with three versions of the film (two with Dolby Vision HDR), excellent Atmos audio, and a fine selection of extras bound in a beautiful over-sized mediabook. Highly Recommended 
Order From A24 Shop

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (A24 Exclusive)
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p/HEVC Dolby Vision HDR / HDR 10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English Dolby Atmos, English Stereo
English SDH, Spanish
Release Date:
May 28th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


As one of the many filmmakers to get their start under the late Roger Corman, Jonathan Demme certainly carved out a unique career for himself. While many will remember him for the multi-Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs and films like the timely impressive remake of The Manchurian Candidate, he also directed his share of excellent concert films. 40 years ago Talking Heads members David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison were at their peaks. Sandwiched between their two biggest-selling albums is their concert event film Stop Making Sense directed by Demme. While the group wouldn’t officially disband until 1991, the film is something of a swansong for the eclectic group of musicians. As the frequency of their output slowed, Bryne was busy doing his projects while Frantz, Weymouth, and other members would focus their time on Tom Tom Club making this film something of an unofficial sendoff. 

It’s difficult for me to “review” a concert film like this because I have to admit bias that I love this film. And I also have to clarify that I don’t love the Talking Heads making my feelings seem a bit paradoxical. Growing up in the 80s, I heard their music often, saw music videos plenty of times, but I never really got into them. I thought the albums were all right, some better than others, but also not something I’d go out of my way to listen to. I didn’t become a fan of Talking Heads until I saw Stop Making Sense in my teens. This concert film features some of my favorite tunes, but specifically these live versions. This Must Be the Place, Heaven, Burning Down the House, and Once in a Lifetime - these are some of my absolute favorite songs I can never tire of hearing. But if I have to choose between the studio-recorded album versions or the Stop Making Sense soundtrack, I’ll listen to Stop Making Sense every time. 

Part of my love of this concert film is how it builds. The first track Psycho Killer is just Byrne alone with a guitar and a tape recorder. The second track Heaven is Byrne and Tina Weymouth doing what they do best. But in the background stagehands clad in black slowly bring out more equipment and staging. And each song builds upon the next adding one more musician and instrument at a time. It’s not just cool to hear it come together like that, but watching it happen is even more exciting. 

Shot over the course of four live shows at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, Demme smartly keeps the focus on the band. Apparently, an attempt to film the crowd was made, but it didn’t go over well and reportedly led to what the band described as their worst live performance. I’m actually kind of grateful we don’t see the audience. How Demme and his crew captured the performances lent more personal intimacy. When it’s a big wide-shot, you feel like you bought tickets in the nosebleeds. When you’re right in the action you feel like you’re the luckiest SOB to snag front-row seats. Likewise, if a shot is far to the left or right, you’re that poor bastard that has to crane their neck out the whole show - but you don’t give a damn because what’s happening on stage is that magical. 

And now thanks to A24 we have this incredible concert event looking and sounding better than ever before - and fully complete! When the film hit theaters the songs Cities, I Zimbra, and Byrne's solo track Big Business were excised from the final cut. When it hit video, those songs were reinserted making the home experience something of a special edition event. Now we have both cuts of the film in full 4K with Atmos and to spice things up you can also see Demme’s extended cut from the 1989 Laserdisc transfer!

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 
Your shelf must be the place because Stop Making Sense comes home to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray exclusively from the A24 Shop. A single-disc BD-100 release, the disc is housed in one of their oversized meadiabooks with bright blue slipcase. In addition to the disc, there’s the 64-page booklet showcasing disc details, behind-the-scenes images, pre-production set design sketches by David Byrne, a forward by Jerry Harrison, and a lot more cool stuff like that. I know these big mediabooks aren’t everyone’s bag, they don’t exactly sit on a shelf very well with the rest of the collection. I personally think they’re cool as hell and have cordoned off an area specifically for oversized sets like this. Maybe A24 will offer up a stripped-down standard release soon. the disc loads to an animated main menu with standard navigation options along the bottom of the screen. 

Video Review


When this hit theaters I was overjoyed as I’d never got to see this film screened in a theater before. Digging in for this 4K Dolby Vision transfer, I am extremely happy to see it perfectly replicates the experience I had at my local theater just a couple of months ago. I still have the 2009 Blu-ray from Palm Pictures and I always felt that was a pretty great-looking release, but it doesn’t take long to see the improvements here. Going back to the original negative instead of a release print will do that! Details are beautiful right from the jump with Byrne and his little boombox. As the film progresses the lights go down and the staging gets more eventful and intricate the transfer never fails. One of the biggest differences between releases folks will notice is how clean this transfer looks. Film grain is retained but nowhere near as noisy appearing without signs of overt grain manipulation or smoothing. To say nothing else, it’s amusing now that you can spot the slight costume changes between shows!

With Dolby Vision HDR (and HDR10) the film looks even better. Cinematographer Jordon Cronenweth had specific lighting schemes for each song - and even then for specific members of the band. These lighting changes and the impact of pitch black and shadows is beautifully captured in every frame. In previous home video releases, those shadows and black levels could skew more brown and murky rather than true black with a subtle light and color gradience. By design colors were supposed to be a bit more subdued and “dull” but Frantz’s bright robin-egg-blue shirt still pops. In short, this is a marvelous restoration effort. The film and that big crazy oversized suit has never looked better! 

Audio Review


On the audio side we have a few options to choose from. You can pick from the new Dolby Atmos track or the original Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. While I do think the original mix still has a lot to offer, I can’t deny how impactful this Atmos track is. Sure, it’s not a guns-blazing action film, but when you’ve got the kind of talent making up this show giving you wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling audio, you perk up and pay attention quickly! Now through the years I understand there have been some tweaks made to certain songs for ad-libbing, cleaning up some background shouts, and a few other bits and bobs. I don’t really know the whole history there, it gets a bit confusing, but my understanding is any alterations that were made for various home video releases are no longer present.

That said, it’s clear that some placement alterations have been made. One of the most immediate is when a performer is in closeup, their particular talent voice, instrument, or both are given a little extra kick. Not enough to totally throw off the mix, but in a way that reinforces the feeling that you’re part of the audience. It’s a subtle effect, but a cool one. With that, I do wish the original Dolby Digital Stereo mix would have been upgraded to a lossless format. It’s very good, still very clean and you can hear some of those little in-the-moment peccadillos that were altered or dropped through various releases. That said, I can’t deny the Atmos is the best way to roll.

Special Features


Fitting a cult classic concert film like this, A24 didn’t stump on the extra features, but not everything from past discs is here. If you’re an extra features hound, you’ll want to keep that 2009 Blu-ray. Most exciting for fans will be the Extended Cut options. In terms of the time difference between the extended cuts, it boils down to mere seconds in trims and pacing before segueing to the next song. Neither version was exactly “complete” since they were early cuts before the theatrical version was done. The more obvious difference between the two is the source - the Laserdisc was badass for its day, but looking at fully restored negative elements just can’t be topped. Next, the audio commentary featuring Jonathan Demme that was recorded in 1999 - but this isn’t the exact same commentary as the DVD and Blu-ray one. This is Demme solo without the comments from other members of the band included. It’s a solid track, Demme has a lot to offer on his own, but there are notable pauses and dead air where the group comments could have filled the space. There’s a new roundtable documentary with the group that’s pretty great and a few other bits and bobs worth checking out. There’s nothing quite like watching David Byrne dancing without music! 

  • Stop Making Sense: Talking Heads Extended Cut - 2023 (UHD 1:39:44 Atmos Only)
  • Stop Making Sense: Jonathan Demme Extended Cut - 1985 (SD 1:38:55 DD 2.0 Only)
  • Audio Commentary featuring Jonathan Demme
  • Does Anybody Have Any Questions: Making Stop Making Sense (HD 25:52)
  • 26 Minutes of David Burne Dancing in Silence (SD 25:33)
  • Bonus Songs
    • Cities: 
      • 2023 Talking Heads Edit (UHD 4:04)
      • 1985 Jonathan Demme Edit (SD 3:51)
    • Big Business / I Zimbra:
      • 2023 Talking Heads Edit (UHD 7:41)
      • 1985 Jonathan Demme Edit (SD 7:47)

Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense is just a damn cool show. A unique band that offered up a range of wild tunes and great music gave fans what amounted to a swansong concert show. It wasn’t the last thing they made together, but the writing was on the wall as various performers were splintering away for their own personal projects. Thanks to Jonathan Demme and his team, we have this genuine epic showstopper concert film. As someone who doesn’t care much for their studio work, I adore this film and the soundtrack. A24 and Talking Heads did a masterful job restoring this film delivering an excellent 4K Dolby Vision transfer with a terrific Atmos track to match. Some may prefer that 2.0 track, but in Atmos it’s a wonderfully immersive experience. Add in some nice extra features and you have a release worth celebrating. I’d personally catalog this closer to a Must Own but I know there are a lot of collectors out there who don’t care for the oversized Mediabooks - so for them, I call this set Highly Recommended 

Order Your Copy of Stop Making Sense on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray